YouTube video

Top tours San Sebastian 2022

In this video we can see some of the most special and unique places in the Basque Country. Some scenes have been shot in San Sebastian, also Bayonne in the French Basque Country, La Rioja and more.



This 19th century neo-gothic chateau is located in Hendaye, in the French Basque Country. It is only 4 km from the Spanish border and it is very well located facing the sea with views over the French coast, the Spanish coast and the Pyrenees. The view over Larrhune mountain that rises imposingly towards the sky is outstanding. The estate on which the chateau is located is very well kept and maintains for grazing animals such as sheep and horses. The entire estate is located within the natural park of the corniche and today is a public domain property belonging to the municipality of Hendaye.














Antoine Abbadie

The history of the Chateau Abbadie is very curious, as is its architecture in facade and interior design. Antoine d’Abadie was a geographer, ethnologist and man of science in the 19th century who commissioned this work to the architect Viollet Le Duc in 1864. Antoine d’Abadie was a passionate scientist and explorer, he was the first to map Ethiopia where he stayed for 11 years. He was also interested in astrology, celestial cartography and the sources of the Nile. In 1892 he became president of the French Academy of Sciences. The interior of the palace houses an astronomical observatory that functioned until 1979 and has mapped up to half million stars, at his death Antoine Abbadia donated his castle to the Academy of Sciences. He was also a scholar and patron of the Basque language since his father was Basque and went down in history as “euskaldunen aita” the basque father.
















It is an observatory castle in Gothic style, comprises three parts: the library, the observatory and the chapel. The building is out of the ordinary, its facades are decorated with wild animals such as elephants, snakes, crocodiles and other exotic animals that Antoine discovered in his travels. It is a medieval building that combines oriental and arabic architectural details.

It is definitely a place worth visiting. The truth is that it is a pleasure to walk through its gardens facing the sea and admire the wonderful figures that decorate the building.


The “makila” is the traditional basque stick that besides its practical use, is a cultural symbol of authority and strength. For example, it is used in political appointments in the Basque Country. The head of the Basque state, the lehendakari, is sworn in and given the “makila”.

Hand-made piece

Beñat Alberdi from his workshop in Irun he continues the tradition. His grandfather started the trade in 1948, then his father and now he has decided to continue the family tradition.

The handcrafted production of these pieces is not easy and requires time. The process begins in the depths of the Pyrenean forest. In these forests you can find the much appreciated nispero wood. The most appropriate branches are carved in life so that the plant begins a natural tattooing process on the wood. This process can take about a year and that’s when the branch is cut. The “tatoo” is well visible along the entire length of the pole.

Cut in winter, it is debarked in the oven, dyed with quicklime and straightened with heat. Once prepared, the rod is covered at the bottom by a brass, alpaca or silver ferrule, carefully chiselled by hand with Basque motifs. The upper part is crowned by a horn handle that takes shape in a threaded tube covered with braided leather. For the makila called of honor, the hilt is entirely made of silver or alpaca.

Honour and respect

It is a gift that is made to honor another person and show your respect for them. On the upper part of the handle you can carve some typical phrase of the Basque tradition as they are:

“Hitza Hitz” The word is the word

“Hitzemana zor” what is promised is debt

“Ihes etsaiak” escape enemies

“Nerekin beti zuzen” with me always straight

“Nere bideko laguna” my friend traveler

“Nere laguna eta laguntza” My partner and support

Famous people from history

The custom of the Basque people to give away makilas as a symbol of friendship has very old roots. After the First World War, Marshals Foch and Petain and President Clemenceau received makilas. Through these gifts, the Basques of the North of the Pyrenees showed their gratitude. The makila of Marshal Foch had a map of Verdun and on it printed: Hemendik ezin da pasa (From here you do not pass).

A long list of personalities from political, social and sports life have been given the Basque makila. Here some examples; The Pope Juan Pablo II, Ronald Reagan president of the United States, Juan Carlos king of Spain and more.

Here i share the link to the website of these Basque artisans. The last makila artisans.